Random Thoughts: NSA Wiretapping
So I was watching "Hannity and Colmes" last night, and for about the thousandth time Alan Colmes made the argument that the NSA wiretaps were unconstitutional unless they were conducted with a warrant. Never mind that everyone he's debated the issue with has thoroughly explained to him why warrants are impractical for this matter, and why the wiretaps are important for stopping things like the bombing of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Here's my argument: The wiretappings are NOT unconstitutional. Wiretapping is not prohibited by the Constitution of the United States. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. Read it if you don't believe me.
"But N.R.," you'll say, "There was no such thing as a wiretap in 1791 so there's no way the writers could have addressed the issue in the Bill of Rights, you idiot!" To which I would say, "Ha ha! There was such a thing as eavesdropping, and all these wiretappings are is eavesdropping with technology!" Then you would hang your head in shame, because eavesdropping is not prohibited in the Constitution either.
But, for the sake of argument, let's say the wiretaps constitute a "search and seizure" like Alan Colmes keeps saying. Well, he thinks that means you need a warrant. He also needs to read the Fouth Amendment. The amendment prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures". It also requires probable cause for warrants. Guess what? It doesn't require a warrant to perform a search or seizure. The Supreme Court, while I don't think much of their opinion, has routinely backed this up and has set many standards of what constitutes a reasonable search and seizure without a warrant. They're pretty much changing their minds on everything, starting with: "What is reasonable depends upon a variety of considerations and circumstances. It is an elastic term which is of uncertain value in definition." (Sussex Land and Livestock Co. v. Midwest Refining Co., 1923)
Great. Thanks Supreme Court. Now everyone's going to want to ask me, "But N.R., does that mean we'll never know whether or not NSA wiretapping is a reasonable search or seizure?" And my only answer will have to be, "I don't know, do you like the Brooklyn Bridge?"
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